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teenagers in the business, my version

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Oct 14, 2004.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    not to put anyone down. i see many threads here concerning young guys, pricing, lack of respect. older guys, put yourself in the consumers shoes. personally i wouldn't pay anyone a nickle to cut my lawn, even when i didn't have a lawn service, i'd let it get 2 ft high , and never dreamed of paying to have it cut. BUT, there are people who take thier lawn very serious, as we all know. now, put yourself in that consumers shoes, and tell me how your thinking will work. here i am 40 yrs old. like most men my age, i think teenagers are idiots (not because of them, but because i remember how i acted when i was a teenager.) ok, with this in mind, i am interviewing different services. remember, i am very concerned with quality, reliability, and getting the most bang for my buck. out of 10 guys who show up to give me quotes, 3 are automatically eliminated because they have 5 teeth ( located in the back of thier mouths). out of the remaining 7, 2 more are not considered, one has booze on his breath, the other says, "fk yea, i can get this lawn in shape in like a few weeks man, can i borrow your toilet, i gotta take a p!ss." that leaves 5. out of the 5, i have a 16 yr old, a 21 yr old, and 3 mid aged family men. let me think back....16 yrs old, ok, i remember, too irresponsible to do anything, and could easily get hurt. that leaves 4 contractors. the 21 yr old....let me think back....maybe a hard worker, but does he really have the experience i need to take care of anything on my property? probably not. that leaves 3 men in thier 30's. wife, kids, many yrs experience. i'll choose from the 3. think guys if you were hiring a roofer, a plumber....how bout a doctor. i needed to see a specialist for a rather private condition. the first one i saw was in his 60's. the second one in his mid 40's. the third, right out of school, seemed more knowledgable than the others, but fact is fact, i was terrified at the thought of letting this young kid operate on me.end of discussion
    Mueller Landscape Inc and MMLawn like this.
  2. Eric 1

    Eric 1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,220

    I have that problem all the time. Its a shame, because some of us DO care and are not the average idiot.granted we are not as "seasoned".But if you are 40 and have only been in buis for a year, i probably know as much or more than you do about lawn care. It is hard to get good commercial bids just because of my age even though my work is in the top 5 of the area.
  3. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    Like you Bobby this is NOT a cut at you young guys at all! Just my response and how I too see it at 46.

    It's kinda like when I fly commerically, which I do alot. I personally want my pilot to be the 50 something gray haired guy, not the 20 something guy that just moved up from the stump jumpers. Why? Cause I know that the gray haired guy probably was military flight trained and has thousands of hours of flying experience not the "private local airport training" and the only hundreds of flight hours that the younger guy has.

    As you stated it yes with the "serious" lawn customers the older LCO's have a foot up probably on getting the job, where with the "just cut it cheap" crowd the teenagers probably do because that customer just figures that they will be lower being young, whether true or not.

    Like it or not and again not to insult anyone here, I gaurantee you that few if any customers "really" think of a teenager being a "business" (They may "tell" you thay do, but they don't) where as they always would with older guys.
  4. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,076

    Excellent topic you have brought up here Bobby. I think it boils down to if you really care about the finished product. As you pointed out if the customer really does care then heck yes they are going to go with the experienced older operator. Now if the customer doesn’t really care they are going to go with the younger operator hoping they can talk them down on price and get them to do some additional work for free. Just my thoughts and I didn’t mean to offend anyone.

    JB1 likes this.
  5. Smalltimer1

    Smalltimer1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,223

    I usually work out an agreement with my customers, I don't use contracts since I'm in college, its just too hard to handle that along with my studies, I'm 18, and a freshman at NC State University Ag Engineering program. When I am home the agreements range from $35 to $60 for full service yard maintenance through the summer. I mow, trim, blow, and any other related tasks. I also do oddjobs, such as clean out sheds and stuff like that. The largest part of what i do is the repair aspect. I work with the local pawn shops fixing their power equipment over the summers. I do really good at that, and they swear by my work.
  6. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,144

    Bobby, I actually do agree with you on this one. I am 20 and have been doing this line of work for quite a long time....but most 20 yr olds are jackasses I must say. I have close to 100 clients and 2 full time employees and a part timer. 95% percent of my clients have been obtained through word of mouth so people already know about my companys quality of work before even calling me..... Therefore I close on a very high percentage of the jobs I give a proposal for.
    You would think because of my situation I would give young guys a chance...but I dont. When I have companys come to my own home to give me an estimate for work I want done, I also feel more comfortable hiring a middle aged "experienced" business owner.

    The key here is to portray a professional image when meeting with a prospective client. I drive a newer truck, always uniformed and talk properly when meeting with a client. I think that makes more of a diffrence then my age.

    I guess I have also been fortunate that people seemed to think Im 7 or 8 years older then I actually am. Quit often I have clients bring up my wife and kids in coversation..... (not anytime soon)

    I guess this business has aged me a little to quickly! :dizzy:
  7. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    This touches on a whole new subject and that is being in the business. You cannot be an owner in the business unless your an adult over the age of 18. Experience is gained by working for someone in the biz, not cutting the neighbors lawn. Evan I congratulate you on your success but you are the exception. I see to many post giving advice on subjects that younger group can not possibly know about. At 17 you do not know how to properly install a retaining wall that is 8-10 high.That takes an engineer to know the proper way. I'm proud to see all the younger guys have a goal an to work toward it, and I wish you success in making it work out but to succeed you need real experience and that comes from two ways. #1 the school of hard knocks and there are many failure that go that route or #2 work for someone in the biz that does have the experience. Its not a pleasant experience but it beats failure.

  8. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,144

    Mac, Thank you....

    You can be a business owner at 17 LEAGALLY as I was. My business was registerd, I payed taxes and I had insurance from age 14 on. Maybe some states do have an age requirment though.

    Ill never forget the day I registerd my business in my accountants office. He was on the phone with a women giving her info over the phone (speakerphone).....when he told her my date of birth 5/28/84 the women says "sir do you know your client is only 14 years old?". Everything went through though.

    Another commin misconeption is pesticide license. At least in PA there is no age requirement. I was 16 when I got my pest license and the youngest taking the test by probly 10 years.
  9. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,144

    Also I do not want to come off as bragging as that is my intent. My intent here is to educate you that although rare....it is possible for a teenager to run a sucessful, legit and lucritive business.

    A 16 year old dosnt have to be just "mowing lawns" either. I feel I was well educated in most aspects of landscaping. I attended every industry related seminar I could find.....did alot of reading. And has years of trial and error with is the best teacher.
  10. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    This thread gets me wondering if any of my customers are thinking bout ol' rod being able to step up to the plate again next year??? No problemo...that's why I have great guys (5) working for me.

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